Film Wars: Lomo Vs. Kodak

For some time now, analogue photography has been making a comeback which in my opinion is great news. There are many benefits to shooting in analog, from the process of photographing with old cameras to experimenting with different types of film (you can read more on this in the post: Why swapping megapixels for film makes you a better photographer), and as with most things that become popularised, this leads to many discussions and reviews on which film is better.

As is the case with cameras, the most expensive and professional film stock tends to take much of the praise, so I wanted to compare (without any scientific criteria) how two types of film, for supposedly two very different audiences and above all, of very different prices, behaved on the street.

A few weeks ago, I went to a local store in Barcelona and bought some medium format rolls, one was the all-powerful Kodak Portra 160 (at 9 € per roll) and the other, a pack of Lomo color 100 (at 14 € for three rolls) and I took to the streets with my Yashica Mat 124 carry out my experiment.

Since winter days are short, I also decided that I was going to push both rolls to 400 ASA. As you can imagine or perhaps already know, the Portra is a safe bet even when pushed several steps, the question was how was the Lomo Color going to behave?

The truth is that the comparison is not entirely fair since the lighting conditions were not the same (as you can see in the examples) however, the performance of the Lomo Color 100 is excellent, especially when you take into account its price.

Furthermore, after having scanned the negatives at home I came to an interesting conclusion. As I had observed in previous occasions, the result of Portra is practically perfect. If you like its range of tones it will give you incredible resolution and spectacular sharpness whereas the Lomo Color, despite its great result in terms of definition has more texture and a more “analogue” range. And I put analogue in parentheses because although both are film, Portra gives you an almost digital result.

Portra is a film that has been designed and manufactured mainly for professional photographers and especially for portraits. When digital didn’t exist, photographers wanted to solve the work as best as possible and Portra, among others, gave them that perfection. But now when we shoot in analogue, one of the things that we look for (at least in my case) is to have that nostalgic and particular feel that film transmitted in our family photos or in the photos of past masters of photography who used film when the technology of production of film was not so perfected.

Conclusion:

Sure, Kodak Porta is very good, so much so that there is almost no difference when compared to digital, but Lomo Color, besides being pretty good, gives you that X factor or imperfection that makes analog photography an interesting and different option.

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